Warning: Entrepreneurship Is Hazardous To Health

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Entrepreneurship|Warning: Entrepreneurship Is Hazardous To HealthThese days, the culture heavily promotes the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. Society needs “game-changing” individuals who solve the problems we collectively face, supercharge the economy, and transform technologies into products.

And while it might all seem extremely glamorous, there’s a dark side. To actually achieve the things that many entrepreneurs do, they have to make extreme sacrifices, including their own health.

For instance, research suggests that entrepreneurs work around 63 percent longer than the average employee. So, if a worker has a 42.5-hour weekly contract, that means that the boss at their startup is putting in 70 hours per week.

The Health-Related Risks Of Entrepreneurship

So what risks are entrepreneurs exposing themselves to by working these insane hours and shouldering the pressures of an entire organization?

Well, studies that compare company leaders to the general population don’t paint a pretty picture. Entrepreneurs, for instance, have 200 percent of the addiction risk of regular workers, are 100 percent more likely to experience depression, and more than 500 percent more likely to have ADHD.

Given how prevalent these conditions are throughout the general population, they are almost ubiquitous among company leaders. The vast majority have health secrets that would probably shock their employees to the core.

Heart disease appears to be the biggest issue of them all. People working the longest hours appear to be at the greatest risk of developing heart problems when working long hours over an extended period of their lives.

What Can Entrepreneurs Do To Take Care Of Themselves?

All of this talk about entrepreneurs having health problems is rather gloomy, though. After all, business leaders are people who shake up the world and improve the lives of regular people. If their lives are being cut short just because of the work they are doing, that seems like a shame.

The trick here is for entrepreneurs to abandon traditional Western lifestyles and embrace something far more innovative. While keeping your Ventolin nearby, in case of asthma attack, is something you’ll need to carry on doing, eating pizzas and burning the midnight oil isn’t.

Entrepreneurs need to think of their lifestyle as a tool to make their bodies more robust. In reality, there is no reason why they should have higher disease risk than the rest of the population, as long as they adjust how they live to reflect the work choices that they make.

Here are some rules:

  • Maintain your circadian rhythm. Avoid the temptation to work deep into the night or get up at some ridiculous time in the morning, just because Mark Wahlberg does.
  • Avoid processed foods. Eat a diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans. If you don’t have time to prepare this type of food, get someone to do it for you. Alternatively, buy unprocessed instant foods. There are plenty available.
  • Prioritize sleep. The world’s second-richest man, Jeff Bezos, is on record saying that he prioritizes sleep, getting around 8 hours a night.
  • Take time out at the weekend. Don’t work 24/7. Instead, give yourself the luxury of having one day off per week where you don’t think about work at all.
  • Wake up at the same time every day. Get your body into the habit of waking up with the sunrise.
  • Avoid traveling through multiple time zones. Business travel can really wreck your body’s ability to self-regulate. If you can’t avoid it, try to go to bed and wake up using the time back home, not the time in the new location.

Of course, when you’re a stressed-out entrepreneur, lifestyle tends to take a backseat. However, you’ll find that when you really start to prioritize what you eat, it changes what you can achieve. The healthier you feel, the more likely you are to reach your goals.

Remember, a late night here or there isn’t going to make much of a difference to your health. Our bodies can recover from a couple of bad sleeps in a row. However, problems start to emerge when you lack sleep for days, or you eat pizza every night for a week. Once you go down that path, it is often only a matter of time before your body gives out and you start experiencing many of the health issues discussed above.

Managing stress is also important. Ultimately, you need to remind yourself that being an entrepreneur is all about play. You’re exploring the world, looking to create business systems that generate value. If they don’t, then you can always move onto the next thing. It’s not the end of the world.

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